Catalan Leader Says He Will Declare Independence From Spain 'In a Matter of Days'

Carles Puigdemont says Spain would be making 'an error which changes everything' if it were to take control of Catalonia's government

People hold on to Catalan separatist flags during a demonstration two days after the banned independence referendum in Barcelona, Spain, October 3, 2017.
ENRIQUE CALVO/REUTERS

Catalonia will declare independence "in a matter of days," the region's secessionist leader Carles Puigdemont was quoted as telling the BBC, a move that would defy Madrid and attempt to implement the directive of Sunday's banned independence referendum

Puigdemont said that his government would "act at the end of this week or the beginning of next," according to an interview with the BBC on Tuesday. 

When asked by the BBC what Puigdemont would do if the Spanish government were to intervene and take control of Catalonia's government, he said it would be "an error which changes everything."

The regional leader opened the door to a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain on Sunday after voters defied a violent police crackdown and, according to regional officials, voted 90 percent in favor of breaking away. 

The referendum, declared illegal by Spain's central government, has thrown the country into its worst constitutional crisis in decades and raised fears of street violence as a test of will between Madrid and Barcelona plays out.